Congress has no excuse and must pass the Save the Internet Act. Internet activists will continue fighting at the state level and demand that all 2020 candidates commit to fully restoring real net neutrality protections
Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned key parts of the FCC’s resoundingly unpopular repeal of net neutrality, including its attempt to preempt states from passing their own open Internet protections. The decision also forces the FCC to assess the impact of the repeal on public safety, and condemns the agency for failing to do so.
The FCC repeal was met with unprecedented backlash from all corners of the Internet, from internet companies like Reddit, Tumblr, and Mozilla, to activists, entrepreneurs, celebrities, US veterans, and small businesses. Net neutrality has overwhelming bipartisan support, with 86 percent of Americans opposing its repeal in 2017, making it the FCC’s most unpopular action in modern history. The public backlash against the wildly unpopular vote has raged on since the repeal.
Fight for the Future, a digital rights organization that has led many of the largest online protests in history for net neutrality and Internet freedom, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director, Evan Greer (pronouns she/her):
More and more, people are realizing there are things they hate about the Internet. But net neutrality is the basic principle that makes possible all the stuff we actually love about the Internet. It’s the foundation of online freedom, creativity, and fairness. The battle for the future of the web is a defining issue of our generation, and this court decision should light a fire under all of us. Internet: get ready to fight.
"All eyes are now on the Senate to do its job and pass the Save The Internet Act to fully restore net neutrality. Mitch McConnell and senators opposing net neutrality have absolutely no excuse. If they don’t allow a vote on the bill to restore the open Internet, they’re exposing themselves as corrupt shills for the telecom industry. Similarly, every single 2020 presidential candidate must immediately commit to fully restoring net neutrality protections if elected.
"Meanwhile, the court decision creates a huge opportunity and a clear path forward for us to fight to restore net neutrality state by state. We fought for and won the strongest net neutrality protections in the country in California with overwhelming bipartisan support, and now we can copy and paste that strategy across the country. Comcast and AT&T are terrified of this exact scenario, so they’ll undoubtedly swarm Washington, DC and attempt to ram through trojan horse legislation that permanently guts net neutrality and prevents states from acting. We’ll be ready to stop them.
"Telecom lobbyists knew they would outspend us, but they will never outlast us. Activists for a free and open Internet will continue to fight in the courts, in Congress, and in the states until we reclaim a free and open Internet for all. Now, we need all hands on deck at every level to beat back Big Cable’s inevitable attacks and reclaim the Internet.
This decision comes in the wake of broad public protest against the repeal a year after it went into effect. On June 11th, over 3.5 million people and a coalition of over 100 organizations called on the Senate to pass the Save the Internet Act to reverse the FCC’s vote. Fight for the Future also held an epic, all-day livestream featuring small businesses, US veterans, celebrities, internet companies, and activists united in calling for net neutrality.
While the worst impacts of the repeal had been kept at bay by the ongoing litigation and scrutiny, big ISPs had already started exploring what they can get away with in a post net neutrality world. In just the last year, they have throttled the California firefighters’ data in the midst of deadly wildfires, slowed streaming speeds to popular websites like YouTube and Netflix, and blocked internet access to force customers to view specific ads.
Fight for the Future staff are available for comment about what today’s court decision means for the net neutrality fight ahead.